Bruce m. Conkey
UKC Forum Member
Registered: May 2016
Location: Palatka, FL
The Coonhound Game goes around in Circles!
Back 60, 70 or even 100 years ago. What did it take to own a coon hound and how did you know if you had one. I think it was actually simpler to answer that question back then, than it is today. It took a lot of nights in the woods and it took a pup that had some genetics that made it want to tree. You knew that you had what your were looking for, by the number of coon your harvested. The score was kept with the rifle and the dogs were kept because they could score.
Back then spending a lot of nights in the woods was a thing to do. It didn't interfere will all the things we have to do today when it gets dark. Also spending a lot of nights in the woods meant some income or food for the family. So the dogs that were trainable got trained. It was also known that it took a couple years for that young dog to mature and be exposed to enough training to make a fair hound. That was acceptable as you generally had a young one coming along that in a couple years would hopefully be your replacement hound. We should all agree that communication back then wasn't what it is today and the genetic pool of our hounds were generally a selection of local dogs.
Then also many years ago people figured out that you could have some fun and competition with our dogs. Then from that competition the word got out about this dog or that dog and people wanted to breed to it. The gene pool was getting larger and more and more combination of genes were being put together. Many for the improvement of the coon hound game and some worked against it.
Then in the 80's and 90's more and more emphasis was put on pups from certain strains or groups of our hounds. Some of these pups were exactly what they were advertised to be. A pup bred to tree coon while many, even brothers and sister of this pup fell short. Many fell short because the hunting and training that was done with dogs 100 years ago wasn't being done then. The dogs were bred better, but the training slowed down. Now it didn't slow down for everyone but a lot of the people on the sidelines wanting a coon hound got them one. It worked because people purchased a better bred pup and got something out of the genetics.
I will say that during the 60's and 70's there was a need for the genetics to get better and it did. But I also think it caused a mind set that has hurt the coon hunter. That mind set is that it is all Genetics. Many hunters were not good trainers because of they didn't put in the time with the dog or they didn't understand the dog. But when those people went through enough dogs and found the pup that trained itself if they got out of its way. They were sold on Genetics. Genetics is needed and Great. Just not as consistent with results as training. Yes training without genetics takes longer but still works. Today we get genetics without training BRED everyday and that is hurting.
I think in todays world we have came full circle in the fact that our dogs need exactly what they needed 100 years ago and that is to be hunted. The problem is people are still putting the emphasis on the genetics that was needed in the 70's. Like instant rice, they want to breed that instant coon hound. When in fact the breeding methods they are choosing to get that instant hound are hurting the breeds. Dogs have been bred with the emphasis to do things so intensely, they don't know what not to do. They have been bred with little regard for genetic illness or negative genetic traits.
If the people that bred more than they hunted slowed down, things would be a lot better. The emphasis today should be on training. Why because most of the pups born today have all the genetic ability they need. But they are not getting the hunting and training they need. That allows us to uncover the genetic flaws they carry before they themselves are bred.
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